The First Female Gold Medalists, Week 10: Short Track Speedskating & Soccer

Excerpts taken from Team USA’s article dated March 24, 2016. 

This week, we head into the 90’s to the Barcelona Winter and Atlanta Summer Games. Individual females continued to win gold and the trend of U.S. women’s team dominance begins.

1992, Barcelona – Short Track Speedskating – Cathy Turner

Turner’s Olympic journey began in 1980, when she was the reigning national champion but failed to make the Olympic team in long track speedskating. She then spent eight years away from speedskating, pursuing a career as a singer, but began training once again and qualified for the Albertville 1992 Olympic Winter Games. In short track speedskating’s Olympic debut, she won gold in the 500-meter race by 0.04 seconds and helped the women’s team to silver in the 3,000-meter relay. She retired after those Games but returned to the sport once again, defending her 500-meter title in 1994.


1996, Atlanta – Soccer

Despite it being women’s soccer’s Olympic debut at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games and receiving no live television coverage, the U.S. found itself competing in front of record-breaking crowds. More than 76,000 spectators packed the stands to watch the gold-medal game which, at the time, was the most spectators to attend any female sporting event. The U.S. beat China 2-1 for the gold medal, a precursor to the final of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 1999, and the first of four Olympic gold medals that Team USA has won.